George Hinnenkamp is baffled--and justifiably so. He's being sued by the victims of a stolen car crash, and he wasn't even driving the car. In fact, he owns the car and had already reported it stolen by the time of the alcohol-fueled crash.
Joseph Dinwiddie, a man often hired by the 91-year-old to do odd jobs, had taken the car without permission. Even so, passengers Nicole Cunningham and Delano Oscar think it's Hinnenkamp's fault. They have asked for a combined $220,000.
And chances are they won't get it.
The pair believes that Dinwiddie was George Hinnenkamp's employee and had permission to use his car, reports the Register-Guard. While he had been given the keys once or twice before, he did not have permission on the night of the crash. In fact, Hinnenkamp was out of town.
Joseph Dinwiddie was convicted of six charges related to the stolen car crash, including unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. He even told police he had stolen the car, reports the paper.
This information will play a large part in the lawsuit, which is currently being handled by the insurance company. The plaintiffs’ case won't be helped by Dinwiddie's confession and subsequent conviction.
While things are looking good for George Hinnenkamp, a different set of facts could lead to a successful suit. There have been instances where owners have been held liable for a stolen car crash. So if your car is stolen, immediately report it to the police and your insurance. It could end up saving you a lot of money.
- George Hinnenkamp, Elderly Oregon Man, Has Car Stolen and Crashed--Is Now Being Sued by Folks Who Crashed In It (Seattle Weekly)
- Dude, Where's My Car? What to Do When Your Car Is Stolen (FindLaw's Common Law)
- Hot New Crime Trend: Truck Tailgate Theft (FindLaw Blotter)